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June 19, 2020

Virtual Conference Season Shifts Into Overdrive on June 22

Alex Woodie

Databricks CEO Ali Ghodsi speaks at Spark + AI Summit Europe 2019.

Thanks to limitations on large gatherings due to COVID-19, the normally active spring conference season has been a total bust, forcing the data and analytics communities underground. But virtual activity has been ramping up in recent weeks and hits a crescendo next week, with no fewer than four major online events and a handful of smaller ones.

The virtual conference action started to heat up this week, which saw several major tech vendors hosting online versions of shows that would normally attract tens of thousands of attendees to large convention centers and hotels, while providing hubs for hundreds of smaller vendors to hawk their wares (and an opportunity for tech journalists to find news stories). SAP held a virtual edition of its SAPPHIRE conference, while SAS held its Virtual Global Forum. DataRobot also held its inaugural AI Experience Worldwide.

The pace of virtual events quickens during the first full week of summer 2020 (i.e. the Coronavirus Un-Summer), with several more major conferences and summits that you won’t want to miss.

Databricks kicks off the fun bright and early on Monday June 22 with the first day of the Spark + AI Summit 2020. This event has been growing for years, and sans coronavirus, the 2020 version promised to be the biggest and best Spark + AI Summit ever, thanks in part to the continued popularity of Apache Spark but also the commercial success of Databricks, which is growing like gangbusters despite the recession and reportedly eyeing an IPO in 2021.

In any event, this year’s online version consists of more than 300 sessions and lasts all week. There’s a mix of informational keynotes and general sessions, as well as targeted training sessions that you can attend for a fee. The highlight of this year’s Spark + AI Summit, according to the 14-page agenda, may be the Wednesday keynote at 8:30 a.m. PT, featuring several Databricks co-founders, including CEO Ali Ghodsi, CTO Matei Zaharia, and Chief Architect Reynold Xin, among others. For more information, see databricks.com/sparkaisummit/north-america-2020.

Not to be outdone, Hewlett Packard Enterprise will fill WiFi signals everywhere with its HPE Discover Virtual Experience, which takes place next Tuesday and Wednesday. HPE has been building a strong portfolio of hardware and software over the past few years, anchored by its Green Lake initiative, which will be bolstered with an array of new capabilities (stay tuned for Datanami’s coverage of that).

The keynote by HPE’s charismatic CEO Antonio Neri on Tuesday at 8 a.m. PT figures to be the highlight of this event. But HPE has a host of other compelling speakers from all walks of life, including Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr; Lewis Hamilton, the six-time champion of the Formula One race car circuit; and Simone Biles, the Olympic-winning American gymnast.

All told, HPE Discover will feature more than 150 live and on-demand sessions from HPE and others in the industry. For more info and to register for the free event, go to www.hpe.com/us/en/discover.

In a normal year, the International Supercomputing Conference would be the highlight of the summer months for the high performance computing (HPC) industry, attracting thousands of HPC professionals to long days of learning in Frankfurt, Germany.

This year, ISC is going entirely digital. Registration, which is free, gets the attendee 14 days of unrestricted access to dozens of keynotes and sessions on a variety of topics. Most of the sessions are recorded, but not the ever-popular TOP500 session, which will tell us about the 500 most powerful supercomputers on the planet. That session will be broadcast live starting at 4:10 CEST on Monday. For more information and to register, go to www.isc-hpc.com/.

Data analytics software vendor Qlik has shifted into online mode this year and will be hosting its QlikWorld Online 2020 June 24 and 25. The  company actually will be hosting three events — one for the Americas, one for Asia Pacific, and one for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region —

QlikWorld Online 2020 will feature more than 110 breakout sessions as well as an interactive expo floor.  Qlik CEO Mike Capone will kick off the show with an opening keynote at 8:15 a.m. PT Wednesday morning, followed by other keynotes, including a panel discussion hosted by IDC analyst Dan Vesset. To register for the event, go to go.qlik.com/QlikWorld-Online.html.

There are a couple of smaller virtual events happening this week that will interest members of the data and analytics community.

The Information Builders Summit will take place on June 23 and 24. The free event will feature eight tracks and more than 70 sessions, giving attendees a chance to learn about Information Builders products. The highlight of the event figures to be the keynote address on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET, where new CEO Frank Vella and other execs will make “a grand reveal.” Go to www.informationbuilders.com/summit to register.

Altair is hosting its Global Data Analytics Summit 2020 from June 23 to 25. The event kicks off Tuesday morning with a keynote from James Scapa, Altair’s founder, chairman, and CEO, and continues with a session by customer Fauquier Bank, among others. You can register at dasummit20.virtual.altair.com.

GDS Group Summits is also hosting a three-day event called the Data & Analytics Digital Summit from June 24 to 26. This three-track event features interactive panels, roundtable discussion, and keynote addresses by folks from Michelin and UnitedHealth Group. For more information go to gdsgroup.com/data-and-analytics-virtual-summit/.

COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, so virtual conferences will become the norm. So let’s make the bet of the opportunity. If you have a virtual event that you think we should list on the Datanami Event Page, please contact us.

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Editor’s Note: This article has been corrected.  Altair’s Global Data Analytics Summit is separate from the GDS Data & Analytics Digital Summit. Datanami regrets the error.

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